The hush money withdrawals that led to indictment of former US House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert were made to pay a man to conceal sexual misconduct from his past.
A federal official speaking on the condition of anonymity said the alleged misconduct occurred between Hastert and a male student while former speaker was a wrestling coach and teacher in Illinois before he started serving in the US Congress, LA Times reported.
There was no further information about the number or extent of sexual misconduct.
The revelations followed an indictment by a Chicago court charging Hastert with withdrawing $952,000 in cash in a way that evaded the requirement of banks reporting cash transactions over $10,000 and of lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about it.
The indictment identifies the man who was paid by Hastert as “Individual A” and says he “has known defendant John Dennis Hastert most of Individual A’s life.”
The indictment also states that former speaker agreed to pay the individual “$3.5 million in order to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct,” but does not specify what the misconduct is.
Before starting to serve as a member of House of Representatives in 1987, Hastert worked as a teacher at Yorkville High School about 70 km southwest of Chicago for 16 years.
The Yorkville school district that employed Hastert said it "has no knowledge of Mr Hastert's alleged misconduct, nor has any individual contacted the District to report any such misconduct," in a statement on Friday.
Following the indictment, Hastert resigned from his duties in several firms including ethanol producer REX American Resources Corp, Washington lobbying firm Dickstein Shapiro and exchange operator CME Group Inc.
Hastert was speaker of House from 1999 to 2007 and he is the longest serving Republican House speaker.
During his term he was second in line for president of the United States and played an important role in passing then-president George W. Bush’s legislative agenda through the Congress.